Most frequently asked questions by sportsmen answeredWORTHINGTON — Today is the first day of the National Pheasant Fest in Madison, Wis.
By: Scott Rall, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — Today is the first day of the National Pheasant Fest in Madison, Wis.
This is a gathering of about 25,000 folks who love dogs, pheasants and everything that goes with it. I have never missed a national event. They have been held several times in St Paul, one is in Des Moines, Iowa; Omaha, Nebraska; and now in Madison. You get to see all of the newest innovations, be it shotguns or seed planters. I will have an overview of these happenings in an upcoming column.
Before I left, I had the opportunity to run into the new conservation officer, Gary Nordseth. He was the subject of a column a few weeks ago, and was brand new on the job at that time.
After a few months in the field, and with his introduction to his new job, I asked him what was on the minds of the sportsmen he had come in contact with. He responded that there were three questions that keep coming up over and over. I figured that if the rank-and-file sportsmen had these questions, the readers might share those same issues.
I asked Gary to share those with me, and what follows was the result of that conversation.
The most often asked question was, “If a property is not posted, can I hunt on that property?”
Gary’s answer is summarized here:
Determine if the land is considered agricultural land. These include cropland, whether growing, harvested or tilled, hay fields, pasture, and set-aside acres like Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), Reinvent In Minnesota (RIM) and others. If it is not one of these Ag lands and is not posted, then you can hunt on it, unless the landowner tells you to leave. A hunter can enter “unposted” Ag land to retrieve wounded or killed game but must leave when told by the landowner to do so. A hunter may not enter “posted” land under any circumstances without landowner approval.
Land owners are required to comply with certain posting requirements in order for their land to be considered posted. If it was posted and others destroyed those signs, the land is still considered posted. What does this really mean? When considering hunting Ag lands, it’s best to get permission, regardless if the signs are there or not.
The second-most asked question was, “What registration does my fish house require in Minnesota?”
The laws changed recently to require that fish houses with permanent wheels be licensed like any other trailer in order to be pulled on public roads. Once the house is on a lake, it also needs a Department of Natural Resources fish house registration. If your house is carried on a flat bed or other type of trailer, then only that trailer needs to be licensed as a trailer. The house only needs the fish house license.
The third most often asked question of Gary was, “Is it against the law to disregard the thin ice signs around aeration systems and fish where I want?”
Gary indicated that there is no state law that prohibits the practice of walking or driving inside the danger markings, but some counties do have them in place. He did share that there is a law that prohibits snowmobiles from water skipping. He went on to say that this practice, which might not be illegal in all cases, is certainly dangerous.
He reminds anyone who might consider the practice to think seriously about the following: What if someone else follows your tracks into these areas at night, when they can’t see well, and dies as a result? Consider the other people who would have to risk their own lives to save you if you did fall in. This is if you are lucky enough to have someone close enough to see that you need help.
Gary was aware of one such incident, when the end result was that three law enforcement officers went through the ice trying to save one person. Gary finished his statements saying that even if your own safest is not enough to cause concern, remember the others who would be affected in less than a positive way.
I actually watched this episode that Gary shared out my window at Rall Financial Services several years back. It was a very harrowing experience to say the least. It all ended well, with no deaths, but that outcome was not certain.
You can reach Gary with any question you may have by contacting him at (507) 945-8101 or (507) 537-6378. He stands ready to assist you, and I look forward to visiting with him regularly to share the common thoughts and concerns that he comes across on a regular basis while visiting with area hunters and fisherman.
I will pass those on to you in future columns covering questions, concerns, issues and DNR activities. I would like to thank Gary for his time and his desire to protect our precious natural resources.
Scott Rall is the Daily Globe’s outdoors columnist. His column can also be read weekly at www.dglobe.com by clicking on Northland Outdoors.